26th Festival of Youth Orchestras | Looking Back

On Saturday, 19 February 2022, young musicians from across the island of Ireland returned to the National Concert Hall to perform on their national stage at the 26th Festival of Youth Orchestras!

After a break in 2021, we were truly delighted to return to the National Concert Hall and welcome young musicians from the Education Authority City of Belfast Junior Chamber Orchestra, Music Generation Louth Senior String Orchestra, Dundalk Grammar School Orchestra, Irish Midlands Youth Orchestra and Queen’s University of Belfast.

IAYO CEO, Allin Gray has said “We were so delighted to see so many young people back in the NCH again and are so grateful to all the staff in the NCH who made it possible.” 

The audience were treated to an afternoon concert featuring classics such as the Waltz from Sleeping Beauty by Tchaikovsky, two movements from The Firebird Suite by Stravinsky, and the beautiful Palladio by Karl Jenkins along with music from the movies including Pirates of the Caribbean and The Hunger Games, a traditional Irish work by Michael Rooney and the premiere of a new composition by Tiffany Qiu performed by Music Generation Louth Senior String Orchestra. We also heard a beautiful performance of “Tara’s Theme” from Gone with the Wind performed by the coincidently named Tara Mulvey of Queen’s University Symphony Orchestra!

The excitement was palpable back stage amongst not just the performers but also the staff, volunteers and the compère Seán Rocks!

Carol Daly, Artistic Director of the Festival has described the emotion that was felt by all on the day:

“The most important thing for me was that we wholeheartedly planned to make something happen this year – that we showed optimism for the young people, for ourselves and for the whole artistic community of Ireland. There was no mistaking the felt sense of emotion in the NCH when we returned on the day. There was almost disbelief that we were there – that it was actually happening; the pure joy in the welcome from Seán Rocks, the excitement of the conductors, the warmth of the supporters, the audience and the IAYO team; but most of all, the sense of determination and motivation in the young people to play their hearts out to make this really count. It was worth waiting for.”

We would like to thank everyone that made the Festival happen this year – it would not have been possible without each and every person.

The 27th Festival of Youth Orchestras will be taking place in the National Concert Hall on Saturday, 11 February 2023 and applications for participation are currently open.

Photo of Tara Mulvey from Queen's University Symphony Orchestra at the Festival of Youth Orchestras.
Tara Mulvey of Queen’s University Symphony Orchestra at the 26th Festival of Youth Orchestras. Photo by John Soffe photography.